By Domenic Loschiavo
Famed soccer video game FIFA 16 hits stores today with a bold new look as female athletes from 12 different national teams will be included in this year’s edition.
Not only will it be the first time in the game’s 23-year history that female athletes are featured, but it will also be the first time women will be included on the cover of the videogame. Canada’s edition will show off national team captain Christine Sinclair, while the United States’ Alex Morgan will grace the cover of the American version.
Head Coach of McGill University’s Women’s Varsity soccer team, Jose-Luis Valdes, said on top of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup exposure, the game FIFA 16 will shine a larger spot light on female athletes.
“The exposure and support from this year’s World Cup was tremendous. Not only in Canada but across the world,” said Valdes. “Now being recognized in the video game platform is just going to increase the popularity and hopefully break down some barriers.”
Valdes, a former member of many Team Canada Under-17 CONCACAF teams, also said the hurdles facing women’s sports have started to come down in North America, but hopes that the trend continues into other countries around the world as well.
This historic day for women athletes took an unexpected turn. EA Sports released a statement last week announcing that 13 NCAA players were removed from the game because of U.S. college eligibility requirements, including Canadian breakout star Kadeisha Buchanan.
Although thrilled by the inclusion of women athletes in this year’s game, The Ontario Soccer Association said in an email to Humber News, “While we are disappointed by the NCAA ruling and its impact on the athletes, we are supportive of EA Sports resulting actions to not include them in this year’s game.”
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) September 22, 2015